The French Market District
This is a must-see for you, your family and your friends. We’ll explore this historical site, but first let’s ask: What is it? Basically, it’s a series of commercial buildings that span six blocks in the French Quarter. That tells you right away it will be easy to find.
ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR SIGHTS
Visitors love to eat here because of the wide variety of food stands, restaurants and outdoor dining spots. You’ll find everything from the famous Café Du Monde with its delicious beignets and chicory coffee located just off Jackson Square to Irene’s Restaurant at 539 Saint Philip Street for Italian fare that one diner describes as “A fabulous find.” If you’re only in the mood for a sandwich then head for Central Grocery at 923 Decatur Street where you can order a savory muffuletta sandwich wrapped in butcher paper.
THE FARMERS MARKET PAVILION
Here’s where you’ll be able to come for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Or, you can make a point of coming on a Wednesday or Sunday where you’ll find a great array of fresh picked seasonal vegetables and exotic fruits. Take note: there’s even a Creole Tomato Festival every year in June for the spring harvest of the Creole tomato – a popular ingredient in tomato-based dishes that are unique to New Orleans.
LOCAL ARTISTS AND CRAFTSMEN
Now, let’s move away from the food scene and explore the ever-changing collection of 50 artisans that appear at the Farmers Market. Come and watch the skills involved for making pottery, designing jewelry or other crafts. And remember: these artists are Southerners, so they’ll be quite willing to share their stories and experiences in the Big Easy.
THE FLEA MARKET AND TOURS
The Flea Market is exactly as it sounds: an open-air strip of vendors displaying everything from T-shirts to jewelry and more. You never can tell what you’ll find.
Now, let’s make a big switch and discuss a tour that one can take in the French Market. When I was doing the research for this blog I came across this tour by accident. It’s called “Brothels. Bordellos. Ladies of the Night Walking Tours.” – and describes the tour as one “that focuses on some of the hidden history of the French Quarter.” The tour starts at the Mississippi river and ends two hours later at “Back of Town.” Frankly, I think it sounds like a hoot.
HOW TO GET TO THE MARKET
The French Market is within walking distance of any location in the French Quarter. You can take the St. Charles streetcar from Uptown or the Canal St. streetcar from Mid-City and get off at Canal and Carondelet Street – then walk a few blocks down to the Mississippi. There are also many paid parking spaces along St. Peters Street that are within a block of Jackson Square.
A LANDMARK YOU MIGHT LIKE
DUTCH ALLEY was named for Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial. This corner of the French Market features public art, the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park as well as SCENIC WALKWAYS that lead to the Mississippi riverfront, the Riverfront streetcar line and the French Market parking lot.